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Phuket tuk-tuk drivers protest illegal taxis

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket tuk-tuk drivers protest illegal taxis | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A protest by about 100 tuk-tuk drivers today won the drivers a crackdown on illegal taxis, which the tuk-tuk clan says are stealing their jobs.

After staging a convoy from Kathu, the protesters parked their tuk-tuks at Sanam Chai, across the street from Provincial Hall in Phuket Town (map here).

“We do not have enough money to pay the monthly installments on our tuk-tuks and to cover living costs. Our incomes have fallen because many illegal taxis are stealing work from us,” said protest leader Sakol Srisompoch.

Mr Sakol identified the source of the tuk-tuk drivers’ woes as pickup trucks illegally modified to carry passengers in the back; illegal “black plate” taxis (standard sedan cars illegally used as taxis); and vehicles legally registered as used taxis, but in provinces other than Phuket.

“They are stealing our passengers in Patong, Kata and Karon. Almost all of them work only at nighttime” he said.

“We want government officers and the police to be more strict. Arresting these people and charging them with the highest penalty should be a top priority.

“Illegal taxis charge 500 to 1,000 baht per fare, and pay 200 to 300 baht to police who stop them. We want police to throw the book at them and fine them 2,000 baht each time,” Mr Sakol said.

After voicing their concerns, the drivers marched across the street to hand their complaint to Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut.

Governor Maitri was unavailable at the time, so Phuket Vice Governor Sommai Prijasilpa received the complaint.

Attached to the complaint was a list of names of allegedly illegal taxi drivers in Patong that the tuk-tuk drivers want arrested, to make it easier for officials to take action against them.

At a quickly assembled meeting that followed soon after, Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Peerayuth Karachedi vowed to launch a campaign targeting illegal taxi drivers in Phuket.

“I will order police in every area to crack down on and arrest illegal taxi drivers,” he said.

Col Peerayuth also promised that drivers found serving passengers with illegally modified vehicles would be fined double: 4,000 baht.

However, he added the police must catch illegal taxi drivers in the act of ferrying passengers, otherwise they were powerless to arrest them.

“If local residents can help us find them, and even take photos for us, it would help a lot,” he said.

Vice Governor Sommai gave police until July 15 to report to her the results of the crackdown.

“I do not want to see people getting away with breaking the law in Phuket,” she said.

— Saran Mitrarat

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Tourism

Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

Maya Taylor

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Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jing Daily

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme are expected to land in Phuket on October 8. The Bangkok Post reports that a flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

Arrivals who do not pass the initial health screening will be transferred to specially chosen hospitals, as “Patients under Investigation”. Those who do pass the screening will be transported to alternative state quarantine once they’ve gone through immigration processing.

A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson says the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. He pointed out that Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period, meaning next week’s tourist arrivals are deemed “low risk”. His assertion is confirmed from the official figures at worldometer.info website recording world Covid-19 cases.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine, although the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested reducing this to 7 days eventually. The CCSA says they are not considering reducing the quarantine time at this stage.

Thiravat Hemachudha from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre is not opposed to the idea.

“We can study this with foreign visitors who will arrive next month. During the 14 day quarantine they will be tested on the first, the seventh and the fourteenth day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days.”

However, not all are in agreement, with a doctor from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University cautioning against any shortening of the quarantine period.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor, Narong Woonsiew, says the province is ready to welcome the new arrivals, with Covid-19 labs in place at Phuket airport, and officials due to carry out a full dress rehearsal today.

Thanit Sermkaew, chief of the Phuket Public Health Office, says over 1,200 rooms at 9 hotels have been chosen as alternative state quarantine properties, with a total of 73 hotels, providing over 5,800 rooms, applying for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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